Daily Archives: March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday-12 Angry Men (1957)

There is something about a jury room that brings out the best or the worst in us. 12 strangers have been randomly chosen to decide if another stranger is innocent or guilty of the charges that they have been accused of.

Based on the play of the same name, 12 Angry Men was adapted for the screen in 1957.

The audience does not know the names of the jurors or the lives they will lead when they leave the courthouse. They are known by their numbers. The accused is a young man who is charged with killing his father.  Now these men must decide if the accused is guilty or innocent. The first round of voting is fairly simple. All but one of the jurors, #8 (Henry Fonda) believes that the accused is guilty.  In the interest of returning to their everyday lives quickly, the rest of jurors try to convince #8 that he is wrong. What seems like an open and shut case turns into a revelation of personal prejudice, hidden scars and our inability to see beyond our own lives.

This play and the adapted film is a masterclass in acting. The drama is heightened from the first page and does let up until the last page. I have seen the movie and subsequent revivals on stage several. No matter how many times I see it, it is still one of the best plays ever written.

I highly recommend both.

 

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-V For Vendetta (2005)

Science fiction and fantasy often has a way of revealing our fears and our dreams.

Set in the future, V for Vendetta (2005) is the story of a freedom fighter, V (Hugo Weaving), who wears a Guy Fawkes mask. V is fighting against a fascist government that has overtaken England. Evey (Natalie Portman) is rescued by V from the secret police. Together, they will become allies to overthrow the government.

Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, this movie is not for children. It  asks some very tough questions about individualism vs. conforming and individual freedom vs. safety via complete government control. It is very dark and has some very disturbing moments. But there light at the end of the tunnel for these characters.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Throwback Thursday

It’s Official

It’s official. Series six of Downton Abbey will be it’s last.

All good things, including good television programs, must come to an end.

To be honest, six years is a good run for a television program of this sort.  The best television shows usually end when the audience is wanting more, as a posed to dragging on for another season or two when the audience is losing interest.

My Sunday nights in the winter will not be the same without Downton Abbey.

At least we have the sixth series to look forward to.

 

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Filed under Downton Abbey, Television

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Yesterday marked the 104th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. 146 workers, mostly young immigrant girls, were killed by a fast moving fire inside of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

They came to this country to start a new life. Some of them knew America as der goldene medina (the golden country). America was the land of opportunity where one could grow beyond the emotional and physical barriers that kept them stagnant in their countries of birth.  Instead these workers lived on slave wages, went home to overcrowded tenement apartments and worked in sweatshops and factories where the physical working conditions could only be described as inhumane.

The events leading up the factory were industry wide strikes. The strikers, many of whom were female, were striking for better pay, a safe work environment, a reasonable work day and their rights as women. To these women, the Suffragette movement and the idea of working in a safe environment and earning a reasonable paycheck went hand in hand.

Until the fire, the government had a hands off approach to industry. It was only after 146 workers became lambs to the slaughter did the government finally step in.

I honor the memory of these men and women. When the stepped onto the boat to come to America, they were unaware of the fate that lay before them.

In the language of my ancestors I say z”l. In the language of the country that I call home, I say rest in peace. You are gone, but never forgotten.

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Filed under Feminism, History, New York City